(…and Why You Should Consider It a GOOD Place to Live)
There are a number of reasons why I returned. The one that means the most to me and the first that comes to mind is: this is my home–and I simply love it there! After living away for the entire adult years of my life, and after all the travel to other places, I was convinced that there is no place like “My Home Town”, Pickensville (in Pickens County). The people are friendly; the hospitality of business owners and their employees is something you will not find in any Big City. The warm smile on faces of those you meet on the streets and the soft cheerful hellos are unexpected by those whose experience in larger cities has been just the opposite. When there is “bad weather brewing” the neighbors are concerned and don’t hesitate to check to see how you’re doing. This kind of concern puts one at ease.
After retirement and relocating here in July 1997, I quickly realized that one does not have to be bored here. I also discovered a place where I could use my life experience and learned skills, and that is in public service. What better way to give back to one’s home and community than to be a volunteer or a public servant? Incidentally, I was elected Mayor of my home town in the year 2004 where I still proudly serve. Come on down!
Mary L. Fuseyamore, Mayor of the town of Pickensville, Alabama
Recently, seven or eight of us got together and made music for a couple of hours.We had a great time playing hymns and bluegrass music. We have set a date for a second pickin’ on the Pickens Courthouse Square in Carrollton at 7pm. It will be Saturday, September 22nd. For all locals: bring your instrument; bring a lawn chair. If more than 15 or 20 show up, we will form a second group. Several of the pickers had enjoyed similar events in places like Mountainview, Arkansas. It just seems appropriate for us to do something like this in Pickens. Should the weather not be good, we can move the music back into the Baptist Association building. So, if you like to pick, blow a harp, or sing along, plan to participate.
Ed grew up in Chicago. He still lives there. But he has fallen in love with Pickens County. He comes to fish in the rivers and the lakes as often as he can. He has caught several bass that exceed 8 pounds. He dreams of catching one that surpasses 10 pounds. He knows that they are here. His time will come.His goal is to grow his business over the next five years, find a buyer, and move to Pickens County. He has not yet decided whether or not to seek to buy a place on the river, or one with a bass lake. The concept of being able to fish daily and catching great fighting fish provides motivation for him.
While Ed does not eat the fish he catches, he turns them back, he tours the “eating places” of the county each time he comes and orders fried catfish. He loves the taste of those which were grown on aquaculture farms in this county and nearby.
Laverne Bryant grew up near Aliceville. He married and worked in the county. But jobs grew scare here. He and his family moved to Mississippi, and he worked there for 30 years. After retiring in 2000 he found a place in Carrollton. He and Charlotte, his wife, came back. They made arrangements to build the house of their dreams.
He is active with the masons and with their church. Two grand-children live in Northport and visit the Bryants often. They are glad to be back. He commented recently that “social class” is not visible in Pickens County. People are friendly and accepting of one another. The Byrants feel blessed. They believe that, Thomas Wolfe not withstanding, some folk “can come home again.”
The fine art of quiltmaking is alive and well in Pickens County. In many locations friends and neighbors gather regularly to assemble and stitch together quilts as community projects. Recently some women in the Bethlehem community welcomed a visitor from Cracow, Poland–a novice to quilting–and instructed her in the quilting process. She was excited about learning and the ladies were thrilled, being able to pass along their knowledge and skills to the next generation.
Craftsmen from miles around donated their weekends to gutting out the burned interior of Dancy First Baptist Church in the winter and spring of 2006. It was hard and dirty work as the volunteers stripped out smoke and water-damaged insulation, drywall and wiring. After successfully killing off the lingering stench of smoke, they reconstructed the interior and added an educational wing. The church was more than filled for its rededication on June 25th, 2006, and has returned to its ministry stronger than before.
This sign at the church captured the sentiment of the church members. They continue to pray for the arsonists and minister to their families.
Dancy is only one of about 150 congregations located in our county. Most are well-connected to the community which they serve and welcome visitors and new members.
We relocated in Pickens County at the end of 1997 from Atlanta, Georgia. I had lost my position with the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention that summer when it was reorganized. My wife was a registered nurse working for a state agency in downtown Atlanta.
Both of us love small towns. We like to know our neighbors and have direct relationships with political officials, merchants, and tradesmen. We enjoy fellowship with small groups of persons with similar interests.
We have found Carrollton and the whole of the county to be welcoming. I work part-time for the association of Baptist Churches (36 of them) in the county. We get to worship across the county. We have developed many friendships with good and Godly folk.
We enjoy southern gospel music. It is all around us here, and several well-known groups visit and sing in our churches every year.
My wife Jackie has launched a support group for people with diabetes. She has connected with some quilters and enjoys working with and learning from them. And she does blood pressure checks as a public service each month at the Baptist Center Thrift Store. I am offering Bible classes for pastors and church leaders through Beeson Seminary Extension.
Our seven-year-old granddaughter, a veteran of several pilgrimages to Disneyworld, tells her parents that she prefers visits to the Eatman’s farm in the Sapps community, pancakes at the Town Square Diner, and a tea party with her grandparents and friends in Pickens County.